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Emerging Late Adolescent Friendship Networks and Big Five Personality Traits: A Social Network Approach


concerning this article should be addressed to Maarten Selfhout, Örebro University, Center for Developmental Research, Fakultetsgatan 1, SE-70182, Örebro, Sweden. E-mail:


ABSTRACT The current study focuses on the emergence of friendship networks among just-acquainted individuals, investigating the effects of Big Five personality traits on friendship selection processes. Sociometric nominations and self-ratings on personality traits were gathered from 205 late adolescents (mean age=19 years) at 5 time points during the first year of university. SIENA, a novel multilevel statistical procedure for social network analysis, was used to examine effects of Big Five traits on friendship selection. Results indicated that friendship networks between just-acquainted individuals became increasingly more cohesive within the first 3 months and then stabilized. Whereas individuals high on Extraversion tended to select more friends than those low on this trait, individuals high on Agreeableness tended to be selected more as friends. In addition, individuals tended to select friends with similar levels of Agreeableness, Extraversion, and Openness.